Long Range Vehicle Identification solutions are primarily designed to be more convenient to vehicle drivers than using access cards.
Long Range radio-frequency identification or RFID solutions work using either Ultra High Frequency (UHF) or microwave based tags.
These systems provide a range of between 4m and 10m line of sight,depending on the type of tag used.
How RFID based Long Range Vehicle Identification Systems Work
There are five main components of an operational system:
- Access Systems – The system stores person and vehicle information, including the tag identification number, and where and when someone is authorised to gain entry.
- Reader – The reader can be connected to, or in most modern systems, integrated with an antenna.
- The reader is also connected to a third party access system via a Wiegand, RS485 or TCIP/IP interface.
- The reader transmit the tag identifier to the access control system, which makes the decision on whether to allow entry.
- Antenna – The antenna transmits a radio signal required to communicate with the tag.
- Tag – The tag or transponder returns the signal with the information, usually a unique tag identifier number.
- Carrier – The person or vehicle that possesses the tag to identify itself
Different Types of RFID Tag
Active RFID tags have a battery installed to power the tag.
This allows the tag to transmit to the antenna/reader over greater distances.
Typically an active RFID tag will work on a distance of up to 10m when using the 2.4Ghz frequency.
The tags tend to be larger as tag housing needs to incorporate the antenna coil and a battery power source.
Passive RFID Systems have no battery installed in the tag.
They are powered from the field emitted by the antenna and uses part of this RFID field to transmit the tag identification number back to the antenna/reader.
Passive RFID tags tend to have a shorter operational range of between 10cm and 1m depending on the frequency used.
Where are Long Range Vehicle Identification Solutions typically deployed?
Long range vehicle identification can be deployed in any environment.
For example, controlling access into car parks or commercial sites, toll booths through to providing access to pedestrian areas within city centres to allow access for public transport and emergency services.
The key benefit of long range vehicle identification solutions is they provide accurate, reliable, high speed access for vehicles to prevent queuing.
Long Range Vehicle Identification allows fast throughput at busy entry/exit points while ensuring that only authorised vehicles can enter or leave.
Whilst most RFID solutions typically authenticate the identity of the vehicle only, it is possible to install an active RFID booster which allows the driver to insert their access card into the vehicle’s booster unit.
Because both the booster and the driver’s card have their own unique identification numbers, it’s possible to ensure that an authorised combination of driver and vehicle are present in order to gain access to a facility – useful for very high security environments, or where there is a heightened risk of vehicle theft.
Advantages of Long Range Vehicle Identification
Both of these solutions do not require the driver to slow down or find their card or credential.
The tag is always attached to the inside of the windscreen of the vehicle, usually with a suction cup.
Performance in bad weather or poor visibility
Long-range RFID solutions are less susceptible to weather interference such as rain, snow or fog due to the use of a directional RF field.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems, however, require a clear, visual image of the registration plate to correct identify the vehicle.
RFID tokens are more difficult to tamper with, for example to duplicate an RFID tag with the same unique number as another authorised tag is very difficult.
This reduces the risk of multiple vehicles entering on a single authorised tag number.
The data transmitted from the tag to the reader is also encrypted to prevent eavesdropping.
A popular type of attack is where someone tries to intercept the tag information and replay it to the reader to simulate an authorised vehicle tag.
Tags can also be moved between vehicles providing more convenience for the user.
If for example, an employee has access to two different vehicles that they sometimes take to work, or whilst they have a courtesy car whilst their vehicle is being serviced.
Disadvantages of Long Range Vehicle Identification
Long Range RFID Readers use a specific beam shape to create an RF Field to detect a tag from an oncoming vehicle.
It is necessary to carefully tune the shape and direction of the beam to prevent a single tag being read by multiple readers.
For example, if the car park has multiple entry lanes, you do not want the tag of a vehicle in lane 1 being also read by a vehicle in lane 2.
Visitor and Contractor Access
RFID based systems require a token to be present in the vehicle, where there is no manned security presence and visitors or contractors require access to the site.
We then introduce complications in terms of managing the issue and return of RFID tags.
In this situation, it would be better to install tag based long range vehicle identification for employees and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) for visitors.
Visitors can pre-register their number plate prior to arriving on site, to gain access without needing to issue a tag.
Whilst an active RFID tag has a battery lifespan of around 10 years, there is still a cost to the organisation of providing tags and managing the issue and return when people leave.
Where security and speed of access is the primary concern, however, Long Range Vehicle Identification with active tags is still the most reliable and optimum solution.
Images used with kind permission from Nedap Identification Systems.